We’ve learned that managers don’t really manage people—they manage the context. Briefly explain what it means to manage the context. (5 points)
We know that SAS is strong in terms of employee job performance. Reflect on what you’ve seen about SAS to describe how the “context” at SAS is likely to improve employees’ task performance, increase their citizenship behavior, and reduce their counterproductive behavior. Break your answer into three parts, with each part addressing one of the three types of job performance stated in the question. For each part, identify specific aspects of the context and explain why those aspects of the context are likely to affect the corresponding type of performance in the way indicated above. (15 points)
*Task Performance: The context at SAS is likely to improve employees’ adaptive task performance. One aspect of adaptive behavior is the ability to handle work stress and to be calm and composed in the face of a demanding/stressful situation. SAS provides a service called WorkLife which is comprised of social workers who help employees to plan for their childrens’ education, nursing homes for elderly relatives, etc. Since WorkLife can help carry the heavy load of these sorts of obligations, SAS programmers feel more secure and prepared to handle them. This translates to less life-stress, making them more able to process work stress and remain calm and composed in difficult work scenarios.
*Citizenship Behavior: The exercise facilities and team sports offered at SAS directly increase citizenship behavior. On an interpersonal level, team sports build friendly bonds among coworkers. The positive attitude created through a friendly game of basketball carries over into the office. Furthermore, this perk increases the boosterism component of organizational citizenship behavior. When employees are happy and can easily explain what SAS does to offer that, they represent the organization in a very positive way.
*Counterproductive Behavior: SAS encourages its workers to get their work done in a 35-hour work week. This relates to the counterproductive behavior of wasting resources in that employees are discouraged from using too much time to do too little work. The various perks offered at SAS (yoga, golfing, etc) allow employees to feel recharged so that they are mentally ready to dive into their work and do it efficiently, with no wasted time. Workers are not tempted to take long breaks to steal time back from the company when the company asks for a 35-hour work week and offers enticing ways to take breaks that keep both the body and the mind stimulated.
First, describe Ralph Stayer’s “Point A” and “Point B” using terminology associated with job performance and organization commitment. In other words, for “Point A,” describe what Stayer was generally seeing in terms of his employees’ job performance (task performance, citizenship behavior, and counterproductive behavior) and org. commitment (affective, continuance, and normative). Do the same for what he was hoping for with “Point B.” (8 points)
Second, describe TWO distinct ways in which Stayer “managed the context” so as to move the organization from Point A to Point B. Provide specific examples from the article. Also be sure to explain how each of the ways he managed the context was likely to help the organization move from the performance and/or commitment of Point A to that of Point B. (12 points)
1- Revised pay system: pay-for-responsibility. As people took on new duties, their base pay increased. This new system encouraged people to seek responsibility, which leads to increased organizational commitment in the form of affective commitment. When they take on new responsibilities that they are proud of, workers view membership with Johnsonville Sausage as part of their identity, and so they are more likely to “go the extra mile” for their company.
2- Quality control taken over by line workers (taste-testing, packaging) leads to more creative task performance as well as autonomy and feedback Feelings of responsibility for outcomes and knowledge of results lead to intrinsic motivation which leads to organizational commitment.
Continuance: These workers will be highly motivated by bonuses and promotions, which is great for the company, but be careful because if any of these workers are lone wolves, they could be persuaded to leave if a higher-paying job offer arises. Additionally, if these workers feel underpaid, psychological and physical withdrawal may occur in the form of excess socializing and long/frequent breaks.
Normative: One unique aspect of these types of workers is their willingness and enthusiasm for charity work. Local community service and ethics in the workplace will be highly valued by employees with normative commitment, and their efforts will create a positive image for the company.
The following three factors should influence our attributions of others’ behavior: consistency, distinctiveness, and consensus. For each factor, describe the kinds of information someone would have to consider to determine whether to attribute Peter’s failure to put a cover sheet on the TPS report to internal or external causes. You don’t have to actually make an attribution for his behavior—just explain what kinds of information for each of the three factors would point to an external attribution, and what would point to an internal attribution. (10 points)
Now consider the two common attribution mistakes. Describe what it would look like if Peter’s manager were to commit the fundamental attribution error in evaluating Peter, and explain why making this error can be so problematic in a workplace. Also describe what it would look like if Peter were to exhibit a self-serving bias in evaluating his own behavior, and explain why making this error can be so problematic in a workplace. (10 points)
If Peter’s manager were to commit the fundamental attribution error he would assume that Peter is a unmotivated, poor organization skills, and lazy. Judging others this way is problematic in the workplace, because it can make the employee look bad when the manager is contemplating a promotion when the employee actually had no control over the situation. If Peter were to exhibit self-serving bias to his own behavior he would see that he never does anything wrong. He would blame external factors on all of his behaviors. This could lead to him being unmotivated in the workplace.
Give an example of the bias/error that illustrates what it might “look like” if it were to show up in a workplace. Describe the example in enough detail to make it clear that you have an accurate understanding of the bias/error. (9 points)
Discuss the implications of the bias/error. In other words, explain what problems we might expect to arise if the bias/error did actually show up in a workplace. Use relevant course concepts in your discussion of implications. (11 points)
Representativeness bias is also known as gambler’s fallacy, which means to have a tendency to assess the likelihood of an event by comparing it to similar event and assuming it will be similar. An example of this fallacy in the workplace would be if a stockbroker ordered a bunch of shares in Hulu, because Netflix stocks skyrocketed. The employee felt that because Netflix skyrocketed so would all other competitive streaming companies’ shares. If were to actually happen in a broker firm the employee could lose millions of dollars from a wide range of customers and/or company.
Availability bias is the tendency for people to base their judgments on information that is easier to recall. An example would be if a manager was to implement this bias in the workplace towards a decision of an expansion in New Jersey, but decided not too based on the fact he or she hates New Jersey from past experiences. Implications of this bias could cost the company millions of dollars, because New Jersey might actually be a great demographic area to expand his or her company too.
2- According to job characteristics theory, autonomy is a characteristic of intrinsically satisfying jobs. Encourage Joanna to create her own flair but do not put a quantity requirement on it. By leaving this request open-ended, Joanna will have the freedom to create something that displays her personality and that she is proud to wear. This gives her a sense of autonomy over the decision of her flair. Owning and identifying with her workplace image will make her job more intrinsically motivating.
2- Line workers took over the selection and training process of new workers. This provided them with a level of autonomy over the process, which makes them feel a sense of responsibility for the success of the company and the growth of others, which makes the job more intrinsically satisfying.
3- Work teams took over a number of scheduling and budget responsibilities that used to belong to supervisors. This added to the variety of work tasks and kept the job interesting, thus making it more intrinsically motivating.
Choose TWO of the following categories of team processes (see Chapter 12) that you think best account for your team’s performance on this activity—creative behavior, decision making, boundary spanning, transition processes, action processes, interpersonal processes, and/or communication (task v. team-building roles)—and describe how each of the two affected your performance. Note that each concept listed here refers to a set of processes. Therefore, be sure your answer demonstrates an understanding of the relevant processes within each of the two broader categories you choose. Also be sure to relate the processes to specific examples of things that actually happened with your team, and explain how all of this affected your team’s performance. (12 points)
Identify and describe two generalizable lessons you can take away from this activity. (In other words, what did you learn from this experience that could be relevant to other teams and/or other types of team tasks?) For each lesson, also explain how YOU might manage or approach teamwork differently as a result of the lesson. (8 points)
Creative Behavior: generating novel and useful ideas and solutions. The generation of ideas can be accomplished either by brainstorming or by a nominal group technique. Due to time and also the task given our group used brainstorming: best known- activity for creative behavior which involves a face-to-face meeting of team members in which each offers as many ideas as possible about the focal problem/ issue. During the 10 minutes provided in class our group was able to brainstorm ideas to accomplish the task given, to build the tallest tower possible. Each team member expressed their ideas ase ti what would be the best approach to build the tallest tower with the specifications provided.
Transition Processes: activities that focus on preparation for future work. These activities include mission analysis, strategy formulation & goal specification. They are relevant before the team actually begins to conduct the core aspects of its work. In the tower building activity we used all three aspects. Mission analysis: analysis of team’s tasks, challenges and resources, during the 10 minutes of preparation we analysed the tasks related to the assignment and how we would accomplish them. Also how to get the best use of our resources in this case the note cards and making sure we were following the specifications. Strategy formulation: development of course of action/ contingency plans and then adapting to them. After deciding the way we were going to build the tower we formulated a strategy as to how we were going to build it and also how each of us was going to make it happen, we had a plan before beginning the project. Goal specification: development and prioritization of goals related to the team’s mission and strategy. Our team’s ultimate goal was t make sure we built the tallest tower, also each of us had a specific goal ex: Alan- making strategic cuts on note cards. Jared & Chris- building the tower, connecting the note cards to one another & Monica- holding down the base of the tower making sure it would stand still and not fall. This in the end would lead us to achieving our goal.
Two Lessons to take away from the exercise:
Come up with a Plan B- going into the challenge we only had one way to do the tower and half way though we discovered it was not the greatest plan, however we could not come up with an alternative way to build the tower because we were not allowed to speak during once we started building.
Come up with a variety of options to choose from, not only a couple. Before coming to a decision make sure that all possibilities are laid out and the best option is chosen. In the future how we can manage this properly would be to make sure that before choosing a plan to follow we need to have all possible ways to solve it laid out and choose the best two, a plan A and a plan B. Also making sure that everyone in the group is providing ideas and speaking out about what they think may or may not work, which will then improve group communication.
Individualized Consideration: Dewey’s conversation with Lawrence in the cafeteria increases Lawrence’s belief in his potential. Lawrence worries about his social status and doubts that he is cool enough to be in the band. Dewey gives him a pep talk and an elaborate handshake. This act of mentoring and assurance that Lawrence is and will remain cool is a personalized motivation approach that increases Lawrence’s self-confidence and self-efficacy.
Inspirational Motivation: Dewey improvises a song about what makes the kids angry. This shows all of them that the purpose for rock and roll can be to vent their anger in a way that is constructive and creative. This provides the class with a shared goal and clear definition of rock and roll.
Intellectual Stimulation: The kids are used to reading music in their music class. Dewey provides intellectual stimulation for Zach by modeling guitar riffs and having Zach replicate them by ear—a different way of approaching music than what is experienced in band class. With Lawrence, Dewey gives him a new genre on the same instrument so that Lawrence is experiencing music through a new lens—rock keyboards as opposed to classical piano. With Katie, Dewey gives her a bass guitar which is very similar to a cello. She can apply what she already knows to a slightly different model.
Describe TWO of the influence tactics Ben Affleck’s character used in Boiler Room to influence the young men to join and work hard for the firm. Also describe TWO tactics Robin Williams’ character used in Dead Poet’s Society to influence the boys to write poetry and express themselves. Give examples from the scenes to support your response and explain how they exemplify the associated influence tactic. Influence tactics: collaboration, pressure, exchange, personal appeal, inspirational appeal, coalition, rational persuasion, consultation, apprising, and ingratiation. (16 points)
State which person’s approach is most likely to result in internalization and explain why. Be sure your explanation makes it clear that you understand what “internalization” means and that you understand the logic behind what you’re saying. It’s not adequate to say that a particular approach will lead to internalization simply because the book said so. (4 points)
Apprising: the requestor clearly explains why performing the request will benefit the target personally. In the Boiler Room clip, Ben Affleck’s character uses appraising as an influence tactic. He does this by letting them know that if they do good in the company they will get great monetary benefits from it which in return will benefit them personally (more money= better opportunities, a better standard of living). He uses himself as an example and explains to them all the extravagant things he owns thanks to his job and that those things can also be theirs if they so desire it.
Rational Persuasion: use of logical arguments and hard facts to show the target that the request is a worthwhile one. In the Boiler Room clip they way Ben Affleck’s character does this is by proving to them that the job will make them money. Right at the beginning he explains to them that they will make their first million in 3 years. He also explains that there is no question whether you will become a millionaire, the question is how many times over.Later on he uses himself as an example stating “I drive a ferrari […] and a ridiculous house” once again reinforcing the fact that this job has got him all the things he has ever wanted and more, and that this job can do the same for them if they choose to.
Two influence tactics from Dead Poet’s Society
Inspirational appeal: a tactic designed to appeal to the target’s values and ideals, hereby creating an emotional or attitudinal reaction. To use this Tactic effectively, leaders must have insight into what kinds of things are important to the target. The way Robin William’s character does this in the DPS clip is by telling his students to view things differently, more in particularly to view things in a way that is important to them. He tells his students to read the required material not in the way the author thinks but in the way they think, to have their own perspective on what they are reading. Also when he assigns the poem he explains that it needs to be a piece of their own, an original. By doing this he is encouraging them to find their own voice (as he also explains).
Collaboration: attempting to make it easier for the target to complete the request. Robin William’s character does this by collaborating with Todd Anderson (one of the students) to help him come up with a poem. In the clip we learn that one of the assignments the students have is to write their own poem, however Todd decides not to write one. This is not a problem for Robin William’s character as he get Todd to stand up in class and come up with one anyways. He does not have to do this by himself however, Robin Williams is helping him by collaborating with him. Robin Williams helps him express himself by asking him questions and asking him to keep building on the ideas he keeps coming up with to be more detailed, this then helps Todd to have an easier flow of his ideas. Todd then learns that he can be poetic and that his ideas are powerful ones as the class applauds him instead of laughing at him.
Which person’ approach will most likely result in internalization: Robin William’s in DPS
Internalization: occurs when the target of the influence agrees with and becomes committed to the influence request. For a leader this is the best outcome because it results in employees putting forth the greatest level of effort in accomplishing what they are asked to do.
Both tactics used by both characters are good tactics and both likely to result in internalization, however the tactics in DPS are better both for the target and the leader. By using collaboration and inspirational appeal tactics Robin William’s character is not only getting the target to commit to what is being asked to do but is also helping build a strong relationship between the target and the leader. By using collaboration his students know that they can count on him for any help on anything they may need in the future. By using inspirational appeal the students are not only committing to engaging on a project they have been assigned to but also to a project that is interesting to them.
The following questions pertain to the article “Renovating Home Depot” (in Module 13).
Explain whether Bob Nardelli (the CEO at the time the article was written) was trying to build Home Depot into more of a “mechanistic” or “organic” organization. Support your response by discussing TWO elements of the organization’s structure—span of control, formalization, centralization, work specialization, or chain of command. To support your reasoning, give specific examples from the article of what each of the two elements you chose looked like at Home Depot, and be sure to explain how the examples exemplify the associated element. (12 points)
Now think about Home Depot’s organizational culture. IdentifyTWO “observable artifacts” that are evident in the reading, and explain what each artifact seems to say about Home Depot’s underlying values and assumptions. Be sure to explain why you think each artifact suggests what you say it does about the organization’s values/assumptions. (8 points)
Mechanistic: efficient, rigid, predictable and standardized organizations that thrive in stable environments.
Centralization: where decisions are formally made in organizations. Nardelli was running Home Depot on a high centralized structure in which top management made the decisions for the stores. In the text it’s explained: “Before he arrived, managers ran home Depot’s stores in tribal knowledge, based on years of experience about what sold and what didn’t. Now they click nervously through black-berrys at the end of each week, hoping they “made plan” a combination of sales and profit targets.” These targets set by top management and giving no freedom to store managers to run the stores freely.
Formalization: where there are many specific rules and procedures used to standardize behaviors and decisions. Nardelli’s structure also had Home Depot’s organization with a high formalization. Explained on the text: when hiring new people they are ” ranked on the basis of four performance metrics: financial, operational, customer and people skills [and they must] make it through a first round interview […] then pass a playing role exercise” it also explains: Home Depot’s executive vice-president for [hr] & GE alumnus, measures the effectiveness of Home Depot workers by using an equation.” As we can see Nardelli has brought a system into home depot where rules and procedures control the overall structure of the organization and how the decisions are made in regards to employees.
Two Observable artifacts:
employees can easily see or talk about. Signals employees interpret gauge how they should act during the work day.
Symbols: at Home Depot Headquarters 1,800 “blue star banners” hang in the main hallway in honor of employees serving. These symbols show a lot about the values of its CEO (Bob NArdelli) and also about its militaristic culture.
Physical Structures: The Home Depot’s top management are not physically at the stores but are at their Headquarters in Atlanta. Regardless of location they still control they way the stores run and what their targets should be.